Tuesday, March 21, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, March 21, 2006
Photo: This is an image from Iraqi police report, the translation is here:
In the name of God, the most merciful
This is the morning and afternoon events of 15/3/2006
1. Interior Ministry Operations:
All forces belonging to the Interior Ministry will go on 100 percent alert status starting Wednesday 15/3/2006 until 1000 hours Friday 17/3/2006.
2. Coordination Center of Beji
At 810 gunmen in a white vehicle, duck type (a reference to the local name for a Toyota model) kidnapped the child Mohamed (Badei Khaled) from Samaha school in Beji (map coordinates 617667).
3. Coordination Center of Dujail
At 730 a benzene truck burned near Gassem al Queisy fuel station after one of its tires caught fire. The incident burned the driver (Hamed Abdalilah) and he was transported to the hospital (map coordinates 263519).
4. Coordination Center of Balad
At 230 of 15/3/2006, according to the telegram (report) of the Ishaqi police directorate, American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including 5 children, 4 women and 2 men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals (map coordinates 098702).
Turkiya Muhammed Ali, 75 years
Faiza Harat Khalaf, 30 years
Faiz Harat Khalaf, 28 years
Um Ahmad, 23 years
Sumaya Abdulrazak, 22 years
Aziz Khalil Jarmoot, 22 years
Hawra Harat Khalaf, 5 years
Asma Yousef Maruf, 5 years
Osama Yousef Maruf, 3 years
Aisha Harat Khalaf, 3 years
Husam Harat Khalaf, 6 months
Fadhil Muhammed Khalaf
Assistant Chief of the Joint Coordination Center
(see below “ABU SIFA MASSACRE, March 15, 2006”)
Bring ‘em on: U.S. soldier killed by small arms fire while on patrol in western Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents stormed a jail around dawn Tuesday in the Sunni Muslim heartland north of Baghdad, killing 19 police and a courthouse guard in a prison break that freed dozens of prisoners and left 10 attackers dead, authorities said.
As many as 100 insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the judicial compound in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of the capital. The assault began after the attackers fired a mortar round into the police and court complex, said police Brig. Ali al-Jabouri. At least 33 prisoners were freed in the jail break.
After burning the police station, the insurgents detonated roadside bombs as they fled, taking the bodies of many of their dead comrades with them, police said. At least 13 policemen and civilians and 15 gunmen were wounded.
Bring ‘em on: "A roadside bomb went off at about 6:45 a.m. (0335 GMT) on the main road of Barwana town near Haditha city, some 250 km northwest of Baghdad," local residents told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast occurred as a U.S. military patrol was passing by, destroying a U.S. Humvee and prompting the U.S. troops to cordon off the scene and blocked the main road, they said.
Another roadside bomb detonated Monday night near a U.S. patrol in the al-Zawiyah village near Haditha city, destroying a U.S. Humvee, they said, adding the U.S. soldiers surrounded the village and searched houses and detaining two suspects. It was not clear whether there was any casualties among the U.S. soldiers in the two attacks as the troops sealed off the scenes, witnesses said.
In separate attack, insurgents lobbed three mortar rounds on a U.S. military base in east of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, witnesses told Xinhua. "Three mortar rounds rocked the eastern part of Fallujah when they landed the U.S. base outside the city at about 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT)," they said.
Ten minutes later, the U.S. troops fired back with artillery shelling at the source of the mortars, they said.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Two policemen killed and another injured when roadside bomb strikes their patrol in Baquba.
Five policemen wounded in two separate roadside bomb attacks targeting patrols in northern and southern Baghdad.
U.S. Predator unmanned aerial vehicle crashes while operating in Iraq. The UAV was based at Balad Air Base, Iraq.
Doctors in Baghdad hospital call off day-old strike but ban police from entering to prevent repeat of police attacks on staff that provoked the walk-out: A security official at Yarmouk hospital said wounded policemen and other security force personnel would now be handed over for treatment at the main gate of the compound but comrades escorting them would not be allowed beyond that point.
"We demand that representatives of the Defence and Interior ministries prevent any assault by security forces and keep weapons out of the hospital," its director, Haqi Ismail, said. He threatened to shut it down again if violence resumed.
Yarmouk has one of the busiest, and bloodiest, emergency rooms in the world, taking in thousands of victims of bombings and shootings since the U.S.-led invasion three years ago. Striking doctors shut it down on Monday and said the government would face the prospect of an exodus of physicians unless it protected them from violence at the hands of police.
Similar strikes have hit Yarmouk and other hospitals before.
The strike was launched after a surgeon treating victims of a roadside bomb attack heard screaming and discovered a member of the security forces was beating one of his staff. The doctor, Ali Abdul Wahid, said he asked the officer why he was violent and was told: "We are the government and we do what we want." Doctors and nurses left the hospital, the emergency room was abandoned and the gates of the hospital were locked.
Health Ministry official Adel Mohsen told Reuters the beating did not reflect the policies of the Interior Ministry, which he said condemned Monday's assault. He said the Interior Ministry apologised and had arrested the serviceman who attacked the hospital staff member.
KILLING WOMEN AND CHILDREN: THE “MY LAI PHASE” OF THE IRAQ WAR
ABU SIFA MASSACRE, March 15, 2006
March 15 was another defining moment in America’s downward moral-spiral in Iraq. Eleven members of an Iraqi family were killed in a wanton act of slaughter executed by American occupiers. Photos taken at the scene show the lifeless bodies of young children, barely old enough to walk, lying motionless in the back of a flatbed truck while their fathers moan inconsolably at their side.
What parent can look at these photographs and not be consumed with rage?
The US military openly admits it attacked the house in Ishaqi where the incident took place. Reuters reports that, “Major Ali Ahmed of the Ishaqi police said US forces landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including five children.”
“After they left the house they blew it up”, he said. “The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed,” (policeman) Hussein said. Police had found spent American issue cartridges in the rubble.” (Reuters)
The autopsy report at the Tikrit hospital said, “All the victims had gunshot wounds to the head”.
Iraqi policeman Farouq Hussein noted, “It is a clear and perfect crime without any doubt”.
The evidence provided by Reuters suggests that we have entered the “My Lai phase” of the Iraq war, where the pretensions about democracy and liberation are stripped-away and replaced with the gratuitous butchery of women and children. The carnage in Ishaqi illustrates the growing recklessness and desperation of Washington’s failed crusade.
Military spokesman Major Tim O’ Keefe justified the attack saying they were searching for “a foreign fighter facilitator” for Al Qaida in Iraq. He added, “Troops were engaged by enemy fire as they approached the building. Coalition Forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets….Two women and one child were killed. The building was destroyed.”
In fact, 11 women and children were killed and there’s no evidence to verify that the house was being used as an Al Qaida safe-house.
The US military made similar claims after bombing raids in January and December when a total of 17 family members were killed.
The full Knight-Ridder report: Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.
A U.S. military spokesman, Major Tim Keefe, said that the U.S. military has no information to support the allegations and that he had not heard of them before a reporter brought them to his attention Sunday.
"We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true," he said. He added that U.S. forces "take every precaution to keep civilians out of harms' way. The loss of innocent life, especially children, is regrettable."
Accusations that U.S. troops have killed civilians are commonplace in Iraq, though most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated. Navy investigators announced last week that they were looking into whether Marines intentionally killed 15 Iraqi civilians - four of them women and five of them children - during fighting last November [see below “What happened that morning in Haditha”].
But the report of the killings in the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi, eight miles north of the city of Balad, is unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it.
The report, which also contained brief descriptions of other events in the area, was compiled by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with United States military assistance. An Iraqi police colonel signed the report, which was based on communications from local police.
Brig. Gen. Issa al-Juboori, who heads the center, said that his office assembled the report on Thursday and that it accurately reflects the direction of the current police investigation into the incident.
He also said he knows the officer heading the investigation. "He's a dedicated policeman, and a good cop," he said when reached by phone in Tikrit from Baghdad. "I trust him."
The case involves a U.S. raid conducted, according to the official U.S. account, in response to a tip that a member of al-Qaida in Iraq was at the house.
Neighbors, interviewed by a special correspondent for Knight Ridder, agreed that the al-Qaida member was at the house. They said he was visiting the home's owner, a relative. The neighbors said the homeowner was a schoolteacher.
According to police, military and eyewitness accounts, U.S. forces approached the house at around 2:30 a.m. and a firefight ensued. By all accounts, in addition to exchanging gunfire with someone inside the house, U.S. troops were supported by helicopter gunships, which fired on the house.
But the accounts differ on what took place after the firefight.
According to the U.S. account, the house collapsed because of the heavy fire. When U.S. forces searched the rubble they found one man, the al-Qaida suspect, alive. He was arrested. They also found a dead man they believed to be connected to al-Qaida, two dead women and a dead child.
But the report filed by the Joint Coordination Center, which was based on a report filed by local police, said U.S. forces entered the house while it was still standing.
"The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 persons, including five children, four women and two men," the report said. "Then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals."
The report identified the dead by name, giving their ages. The two men killed were 22 and 28. Of the women, one was 22, another was 23, a third was 30 and the fourth was 75. Two of the children were 5 years old, two were 3, and the fifth was 6 months old, the document said.
The report was signed by Col. Fadhil Muhammed Khalaf, who was described in the document as the assistant chief of the Joint Coordination Center.
A local police commander, Lt. Col. Farooq Hussain, interviewed by a Knight Ridder special correspondent in Ishaqi, said autopsies at the hospital in Tikrit "revealed that all the victims had bullet shots in the head and all bodies were handcuffed." Efforts to reach hospital spokesmen Sunday were unsuccessful.
Keefe, the U.S. military spokesman, said that he had seen photographs of the victims and had not seen handcuffs, which caused him to doubt the validity of the report.
He said, however, that he has no reason to doubt the body count provided by local police.
"We conducted a preliminary investigation," he said. "They were the investigating officers on the ground."
Keefe said that he didn't know which U.S. unit conducted the raid. An official account of the raid provided Sunday by the military also did not mention the unit involved by name.
Ibraheem Hirat Khalaf, whose brother Faiz owned the house and was among the dead, said he watched and heard the assault from his home 100 yards away. He said that U.S. troops used six missiles from helicopters to destroy the house as they were leaving.
Abu Hijran, 38, and a neighbor, said those in the house were liked and respected, though the wanted al-Qaida member was not as well known.
Rasheed Thair, an employee of Ishaqi, said that the town was in a state of shock over the killings.
"Everyone attended the funeral," he said. "We want the Americans to give an explanation for this horrible crime which took the smile and the dream of a spring night from 11 people, and destroyed even the simple toys of children."
Three Knight Ridder Newspapers special correspondents contributed to this report. Their identities are being withheld for security reasons.
HADITHA MASSACRE, November 19, 2005
What happened that morning in Haditha: The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communiqué from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.
But the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began.
In January, after TIME presented military officials in Baghdad with the Iraqis' accounts of the Marines' actions, the U.S. opened its own investigation, interviewing 28 people, including the Marines, the families of the victims and local doctors. According to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military's initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which will conduct a criminal investigation to determine whether the troops broke the laws of war by deliberately targeting civilians. Lieut. Colonel Michelle Martin-Hing, spokeswoman for the Multi-National Force--Iraq, told TIME the involvement of the NCIS does not mean that a crime occurred. And she says the fault for the civilian deaths lies squarely with the insurgents, who "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves."
Because the incident is officially under investigation, members of the Marine unit that was in Haditha on Nov. 19 are not allowed to speak with reporters. But the military's own reconstruction of events and the accounts of town residents interviewed by TIME--including six whose family members were killed that day--paint a picture of a devastatingly violent response by a group of U.S. troops who had lost one of their own to a deadly insurgent attack and believed they were under fire. TIME obtained a videotape that purports to show the aftermath of the Marines' assault and provides graphic documentation of its human toll. What happened in Haditha is a reminder of the horrors faced by civilians caught in the middle of war--and what war can do to the people who fight it.65,000 people still displaced out of Fallujah: It has been 14 months since US forces fought insurgents in the city of Fallujah, but there is still slow progress on humanitarian issues, according to local officials. Nearly 600 people died in the conflict, according to the government, but local doctors believe the number could be as high as 1,800 victims.
As much as 80 percent of the population fled Fallujah, 60 km west of Baghdad, when US forces launched an offensive to oust insurgents from the area. More than two thirds have now returned and 15 percent remain displaced on the outskirts of the city. They are living in abandoned schools and government buildings, according to aid officials.
The entire population of the city was estimated to be 300,000 and today it stands at roughly 230,000. "Approximately 65,000 people are still displaced out of Fallujah," said Bassel Mahmoud, director of Fallujah's reconstruction project. "The government has forgotten them because most are living with relatives in other cities or under deteriorating conditions in abandoned buildings on the outskirts of Fallujah".
Despite Baghdad allocating US $100 million for the city's reconstruction and US $180 million for housing compensation, very little can be seen visibly on the streets of Fallujah in terms of reconstruction. There are destroyed buildings on almost every street.
Local authorities say about 60 percent of all houses in the city were totally destroyed or seriously damaged and less than 20 percent of them have been repaired so far. In addition, 6,000 shops, 43 mosques and nine government offices still require extensive repair work. Power, water treatment and sewage systems are still not functioning properly and many districts of the city are without potable water.
Fallujah officials say 30 percent of the allocated funds have been switched to maintaining extra checkpoints and security patrols to ensure that insurgents don't return – this has left a hole in the budget needed for reconstruction. Of the 81 reconstruction projects slated for the city, only 24 have been completed and many others will be cancelled due to a lack of funding, the Fallujah official said.
Baghdad residents voice anger and dismay when asked about their lives as invasion in Iraq enters fourth year: Salah Hashim, a 49-year-old businessman, said he yearned for the return of Saddam Hussein, the country's ousted dictator, given the violence that now envelops the country.
"Despite all he did that was bad, we did not suffer as we are now," Hashim said. "Now we have lost everything, even a sense of living. The Americans promised us, especially (President) George Bush, prosperity. And we thank them all because we got it — but we got a prosperity of car bombs, kidnappings and killings."
Ahmen Najeeb, a 33-year-old supermarket owner, said he originally "waved his hands" at American forces as they entered the country in March 2003, but that his outlook has since changed. "Day after day the Americans proved that they are here to steal our oil and protect their homes by keeping the their war against terror in another country," he said.
One man who said three of his daughters were killed by a bombing last year sounded despondent. "I got nothing from this so-called liberation, just this cell phone and my satellite receiver. But I lost my three daughters," said Nawar Maarof, a 34-year-old taxi driver who said he had dreamed of becoming an accountant. "I have a feeling that my destiny is the same. Anyway, we're all dead."
Salam Nassir, a 25-year-old college student, also longed for Saddam. "We deserve all this because we didn't fight the Americans," he said. "We had to know from the start they would not help us and were lying about liberating Iraq."
Iraq as a free fraud zone: When the coalition troops arrived in Iraq, they were received with remarkable goodwill by significant sections of the population. The coalition had control up to a point and, perhaps more importantly, it had the money to consolidate that goodwill by rebuilding Iraq, or at least make a significant start. Best of all for the US and its allies, the money came from the Iraqis themselves.
Because the Iraqi banking system was in tatters, the funds were placed in an account with the Federal Reserve in New York. From there, most of the money was flown in cash to Baghdad. Over the first 14 months of the occupation, 363 tonnes of new $100 bills were shipped in - $12bn, in cash. And that is where it all began to go wrong.
"Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money," says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced."
The environment created by the coalition positively encouraged corruption. "American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone," says Alan Grayson, a Florida-based attorney who represents whistleblowers now trying to expose the corruption. "In a free fire zone you can shoot at anybody you want. In a free fraud zone you can steal anything you like. And that was what they did."
A good example was the the Iraqi currency exchange programme (Ice). An early priority was to devote enormous resources to replacing every single Iraqi dinar showing Saddam's face with new ones that didn't. The contract to help distribute the new currency was won by Custer Battles, a small American security company set up by Scott Custer and former Republican Congressional candidate Mike Battles. Under the terms of the contract, they would invoice the coalition for their costs and charge 25% on top as profit. But Custer Battles also set up fake companies to produce inflated invoices, which were then passed on to the Americans. They might have got away with it, had they not left a copy of an internal spreadsheet behind after a meeting with coalition officials.
The spreadsheet showed the company's actual costs in one column and their invoiced costs in another; it revealed, in one instance, that it had charged $176,000 to build a helipad that actually cost $96,000. In fact, there was no end to Custer Battles' ingenuity. For example, when the firm found abandoned Iraqi Airways fork-lifts sitting in Baghdad airport, it resprayed them and rented them to the coalition for thousands of dollars. In total, in return for $3m of actual expenditure, Custer Battles invoiced for $10m. Perhaps more remarkable is that the US government, once it knew about the scam, took no legal action to recover the money. It has been left to private individuals to pursue the case, the first stage of which concluded two weeks ago when Custer Battles was ordered to pay more than $10m in damages and penalties.
But this is just one story among many.
· Dispatches: Iraq's Missing Billions produced by GuardianFilms is broadcast tonight [March 20] on [UK] Channel 4 at 8pm.
U.S. War Spending to Rise 44% to $9.8 Bln a Month: Spending will rise to $9.8 billion a month from the $6.8 billion a month the Pentagon said it spent last year, [the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service] said. The group's March 10 report cites "substantial'' expenses to replace or repair damaged weapons, aircraft, vehicles, radios and spare parts.
It also figures in costs for health care, fuel, national intelligence and the training of Iraqi and Afghan security forces -- "now a substantial expense,'' it said.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Lies about the “oppression of the Shi‘ah”: We have heard a lot about how the Shi'ah were supposedly oppressed in the time when the Arab Socialist Baath Party ruled Iraq. We’ve heard about how they were supposedly not treated equally with other Iraqis.
In fact, however, these are nothing but lies fabricated as part of a psychological warfare propaganda campaign aimed at Iraqi citizens – a campaign waged by the US military and its experts in psychological warfare in order to pave the way for their occupation of Iraq.
We don’t plan to delve into the details or goals of that sinister campaign here. Instead we hope to briefly respond to some of the claims they make.
Such lies on the part of the invaders and their stooges, whereby they try to hoodwink people in order to split up the unity of Iraq, have prompted me today to set out the facts about the nature of the cadres of the Iraqi state and their backgrounds in order to refute those mendacious claims. My aim is not in any way to deepen sectarian differences or bring them into higher relief, nor am I just trying to defend a political regime, as those who are trying to distort reality might have people believe. My only purpose is to set forth the facts and bring out the truth. To that end, I must set out the following facts, and they are just a few of many, many more that could be cited.
• In the time of the rule of the Baath Party, Staff General Sa'di Tu'mah al-Jabburi, a Shi'i was appointed minister of defense of Iraq.
• The first Shi'i to be appointed chief of staff of the Iraqi Army – Lieutenant General 'Abd al-Wahid Shannan Al Ribat – was named to that post in the time of the rule of the Baath.
• The person who held the post of Iraqi Foreign Minister the longest was Shi'i and that took place in the time the Baath ruled the country. Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi had that honor. Then the post was held throughout the 1990s by Muhammad Sa'id as-Sahhaf, and he was also Shi'i.
• The person who was in charge of Iraqi oil production the longest in the period of Baath Party rule was Shi'i – Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi – who was Minister of Petroleum some of that time and supervised the Ministry of Petroleum through his chairmanship of the Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers.
• The first time in the history of Iraq that Shi'i individuals held the post of Minister of Petroleum in succession was during the rule of the Baath. They were: Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi, Qasim Ahmad Taqi, 'Isam al-Chelebi (the cousin of Ahmad Chelebi). Thus, in fact Shi'ah occupied the post of Minister of Petroleum more than any other group in the history of Iraq and of the Baath. Working in responsible posts in the Ministry of Petroleum were Fadil al-Chelebi (a nephew of Ahmad Chelebi); Dr. 'Abd al-Amir al-Anbari, a Shi'i; Ramzi Salman, a Shi'i who was the Chairman of the Petroleum Marketing Board Sumo – the body responsible for Iraqi oil exports.
• The longest period during which Shi'ah held the post of Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq was in the period of Baath rule, the individual governors being Dr. 'Abd al-Hasan Zalzalah and Tariq at-Takmah Ji. This had never happened in any earlier era in the country.
• It was under the Baath that for the first time in the history of the Iraqi state, a Shi'i person held the post of Director of Public Security in Iraq. That individual was Nazim Kazzar. His assistant in that post was 'Ali Rida Bawah, who was a Shi'i of Kurdish background.
• The top official responsible for investigating crimes by members of the Da'wah Party, which functioned as an agency of Iran and set off bombs inside Iraq during the 1980s and 1990s, the man who put an end to the sabotage wrecked by that party was himself Shi'i – Security Colonel 'Ali al-Khaqani, a native of the Shi'i holy city of an-Najaf. This is something that no one, including Husayn ash-Shahrastani, can deny.
• The Presidenccy of the Revolutionary Court specially formed to deal with the cases of plots was held by two Shi'ah, namely Hadi 'Ali Watut and Muslim al-Jabburi.
• It was under the Baath that two Shi'ah served as Prime Minister of Iraq. They were Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi and Muhammad Hamzah az-Zubaydi.
• The man who held the post of Speaker of the National Assembly the longest was Shi'i – Dr. Sa'dun Hammadi.
• More than 60 percent of the general directors of state companies in the military industries were Shi'ah. More than 70 percent of the advanced engineering and technical cadres in the military industries were Shi'ah.
• Most of the specialists and scientists in the Atomic Energy Organization were Shi'i, among them Diya’ Ja'far, Husayn Isma'il al-Bahadili, and Husayn ash-Shahrastani.
• The Deputy Chairman of the Military Industrial Board for Technical Affairs, Dr. Nizar al-Qusayr, the most important person on the Board because it was he who was in charge of all production development projects, was also Shi'i.
• More than 60 percent of the general directors in the Iraqi state sector and their technical and scientific cadres who held high official posts and positions in that sector were Shi'i.
• The person who held the position of general director in the Iraqi state sector the longest since the foundation of the state sector and until the US invasion was Shi'i – namely Midhat al-Hashimi, the General Director of the Public Company for Automobiles.
• All the general directors for the educational departments in the provinces in Iraq’s central and southern area were Shi'i throughout the entire period of Baath Party rule.
• More than 60 percent of Baath Party members were Shi'i. The middle-ranking cadres in the Baath Party were more than 70 percent Shi'i. They were the foundation of the Party’s organizational and formational structure, and it was they who undertook organizational and mass work in the Party.
• During the time of the Iran-Iraq War the Commander of Iraqi Artillery was Staff Major General Hamid al-Ward, a Shi'i. The Commander of the Armored Forces was Staff Major General Sabih 'Umran at-Tarafah, a Shi'i. The General Secretary of the Ministry of Defense – that is, the number-two man in the ministry after the Minister of Defense himself – was Staff Major General Sa'd al-Maliki, a Shi'i. Then later there was Staff Major General Jiyad al-Imarah, a Shi'i. The Commander of the 3rd Division, Lieutenant General Sa'di Tu'mah al-Jabburi was a Shi'i. The Director of Administration of Political Guidance was 'Abd al-Jabbar Muhsin al-Lami, a Shi'i. The Commander of the Border Troops was Staff Lieutenant General 'Ali Muhammad Shallal, a Shi'i. This is to say nothing of the large number of brigade generals, sectional commanders, army officers, and military advisers who were Shi'i.
• Ten men served as Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations during the period of Baath Party Rule. Of them, four were Shi'i.
• The two Representatives of Iraq to UNESCO were both Shi'i.
• The last editor-in-chief of the Baath Party’s official newspaper, ath-Thawrah, was Sami Mahdi, who is a Shi'i of Iranian descent.
• The Information Adviser to President Saddam Hussein was 'Abd al-Jabbar Muhsin, a Shi'i.
• The main adviser to President Saddam Hussein for Baath Party affairs was Muhsin Radi Salman, a Shi'i.
• President Saddam Hussein’s aide throughout the 1970s, 1980s and until the beginning of the 1990s was Sabah Mirzah Mahmud, a Shi'i of Kurdish background. In addition the President’s Secretary for Press Affairs was Sabah Salman, also a Shi'i.
• Dozens of Iraq’s ambassadors were Shi'ah, a few – by no means all – examples being 'Aqdah al-Bayyati, Widad 'Ajjam, Muhammad al-'Amili, 'Adnan Malik, Sa'id al-Musawi, 'Abd al-Husayn al-Jamali, Rahim al-Katal, Sahib as-Samawi, Hassan as-Saffar, Bassam Kabbah, Sa'd Qasim Hammudi, Salah Nuri as-Samarmad, 'Ali Muhammad al-Mashshat, and many more.
• All the singers and songwriters who sang of the Baath Party and of love for the leader in the period of Baath Party rule were Shi'ah.
• All the popular poets who wrote long poems in honor of the Baath Party and the President in the period of Baath Party rule were Shi'ah.
These are just a few bits of evidence to show that Iraq was a real state, and certainly not a regime based on religious sectarianism as the occupation forces and their stooges now claim in order to push their program for splitting up Iraq. I wished to set this down and to relate the story of a cousin, Colonel "A. M.", whose house was seized by the Badr Brigade gang who claim to be Shi'ah. They expelled him and his family from their home and they attacked his wife after they heard that he might be a member of the Iraqi Resistance. Even though he was of Shi'i background, he is Iraqi before all else, and this is something that the stooges and the depraved cannot comprehend.
Death Squad Democracy:
"I constantly read the analyses of foreigners or Iraqis who’ve been abroad for decades talking about the divide that has always existed between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq…That is simply not true". --- "Baghdad Burning", girl blogger [Riverbend]
The notion that Iraq is now consumed by civil war depends on a number of assumptions that are inherently false. First of all, it assumes that the Pentagon is ignoring the fundamental principle which underscores all wars: "Know your enemy". In this case, there’s no doubt about who the enemy is; it is the 87% of the Iraqi people who want to see an immediate end to the American occupation. Therefore, the greatest threat to American objectives of permanent bases and occupation is the camaraderie that that manifests itself in the form of Arab solidarity or Iraqi nationalism.
To this end, the Pentagon, through its surrogates in the media, has created a "self-fulfilling" narrative that civil war is already under way. Most of the war coverage now makes it appear as though the violence is generated from ethnic tensions and sectarian hatred. But is it? Some of the more astute observers have noticed that other parts of the propaganda war, (like references to the "imaginary" al-Zarqawi) have vanished from the newspapers, as government spin-doctors are now devoting all their time to promoting their latest product-line: civil war.
In fact, if any of us were involved in the Pentagon’s "pacification" plans we’d probably be doing the same thing. After all, the War Department is already overextended, so a plan had to be devised to divert attention from the occupation forces and get Iraqis to kill each other. The only reasonable choice is to incite "sectarian violence" and make civil war inevitable. That, of course, is the task of the American trained death squads. (The New York Times has confirmed that the Interior Ministry death squads were trained by American forces)
For three years the Iraqi resistance has successfully kept American troops on the defensive; gradually taking control of more area, destroying pipelines and oil facilities at will, discouraging enlistment in the Iraqi Security Forces, and undermining public support among Americans (63% of who now believe the war was "a mistake")
These are the goals of every guerilla movement; a gradual erosion of public support, deflating morale, surprise attacks, and eliciting greater support from the general population. It is clear that this has been a winning strategy for the resistance, and not one that they would abandon to pursue an ethnic/religious war.
So, where does the violence originate? Could it be that the independent militias are engaged in sectarian war without help from the greater resistance? It could be, but it’s not likely. Again, the only one who benefits from civil war is the US military; and it’s clear that the military has no other option but to follow a "divide and rule" strategy. They simply don’t have the human resources for any other plan.
Video footage of a massacre outside of Nahrwan, east of Baghdad, has appeared on the Internet showing the bodies of Shiite laborers who were allegedly killed by Sunni death squads. Journalist Paul McGeough was given the tapes and is planning to report on their content in the "Sydney Morning Herald". In one incident, four adults were pulled from their vehicle and either shot or stabbed to death in front of a 5 year old boy whose father was one of the victims. When the townspeople came to investigate the scene, they discovered the bodies of 48 men and women who had been dumped in a ditch. The corpses showed the signs of having been "systematically murdered. Most were shot but some appear to have been stabbed and mutilated".
It is the "stabbed and mutilated" part that should interest us. After all, the intention of the Iraqi resistance is to gather greater support for their cause, not to alienate ordinary Iraqis through gratuitous acts of murder. If, however, this was the work of American-backed death squads, then the alternate goal of "governing through terror" has been achieved.
The adults are finally stepping in: The cracks and fissures are finally beginning to appear in Fortress Bush. The AP is reporting that Congress quietly appointed an “Iraq Study Group” headed by James A. Baker to “assess the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq and political and economic developments in the troubled country”. In other words, Baker has been picked to tell Bush that the war is over; we lost.
The group was voted into being with little fanfare to spare the White House any unnecessary embarrassment, but the message is clear; the adults are finally stepping in. The war has been so appallingly mismanaged that jittery American elites are forcing themselves back into the policy-making apparatus.
The group is led by Bush-family friend and consigliore, James Baker who helped the president squeak-by in election 2000 by convincing the Supreme Court that his client (George Bush) would suffer “irreparable harm” if the legally cast Florida ballots were counted. Now, Baker has returned, leading a team of disgruntled government big-wigs and policy-wonks to see if they can extricate the recalcitrant executive from his Babylon folly. The move illustrates the widening chasm between American elites and the White House over the bungled handling of the war. In the last two weeks, die-hard conservatives William Buckley and Francis Fukuyama “bailed out” decrying the present policy as a failure and urging the administration to change course.
Just days ago, Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a foreign policy giant and master of American-style Realpolitik, added his voice to the growing chorus of nay-sayers; opining that it was time for the withdrawal of American troops. It is unlikely that Buckley, Fukuyama, or Brzezinski would concede defeat if it was just a matter of wiping out another 100,000 Iraqis or so. Their judgment is predicated on the simple fact that the U.S. will not win.
The newly-formed Baker group consists of political insiders and powerbrokers who typically work behind the scenes to guide the ship of state in a corporate-friendly direction. Members include former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, head of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Lee Hamilton, former CIA Director Robert Gates, former Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan, former Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former Senator of Virginia Chuck Robb, and Former Senator of Wyoming Alan Simpson.
Traditionally, the real power in Washington derives from a core of elites who hail from the various think-tanks and semi-secret organizations (particularly the 4,200 member Council on Foreign Relations CFR) that provide the financial support for congressional campaigns and political maneuvering. This new commission represents a departure from their normal modus operandi of working behind the scenes. That implies that the situation is graver than we think. Baker would never humiliate the president unless the plutocrats were running scared, but Bush has given them little choice. The deteriorating situation in Iraq and the thickheaded disregard for differing opinions has raised the level of angst among Baker’s friends and precipitated a major crisis.
The group is put together to look like a “fact-finding” mission, but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on. All of the members are well-connected with contacts on ground in Iraq as well as in the military. They know what is going on in Iraq; it’s a mess, that’s why they have decided to break with precedent and jump in headfirst.
The group will probably produce a document that will tell the nation that the ‘war has been lost’ and we should prepare to leave immediately. There’s no telling what the media’s response will be. Some will see it as a conspiracy by panicky Americans Mandarins who want to wrest power from the small cadres of fanatics and neocons that surround the president. In fact, that is exactly the case.
In just six years Bush has enraged enemies, alienated allies, increased terrorism, eviscerated America’s moral authority, and savaged the military. In fact, military equipment is deteriorating at five times the normal rate and many soldiers are now headed for their forth tour in Iraq. Baker knows that this situation is not sustainable.
He’ll try to pile up enough facts to make his case before the American people hoping administration die-hards will see the light. It won’t be easy.
It’s likely that the group will make concrete suggestions concerning a timetable for complete withdrawal, a plan to remove troops from all Sunni cities, negotiations with high-ranking members of the Iraqi resistance, appeals for international assistance, and stealth-agreements for future oil concessions.
Baker’s new assignment is to loosen the madman’s grip on the nations’ steering wheel and glide the people’s-wagon back to safety. Expect to see Baker looking a lot like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill.
After years of struggle, Baker and company have finally created the one-party system of their dreams with a government that is unaccountable to the people, the law, or its political base. Unfortunately, he’s about to learn what others have known for some time; the nation is in the vice-like grip of homicidal maniacs who have no intention of relinquishing power or admitting defeat.
EDITORIALIZING THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE INVASION
Editorials Dither While Iraq Burns: Anyone who hoped that the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq would inspire the country’s leading newspapers to finally editorialize for a radical change in the White House’s war policy has to be disappointed, again. From this evidence, the editorial boards of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Knight Ridder collective, and others appear to be as clueless about what to do as are Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld.
Reading the editorials, which mainly call for more of the same, puts you in a time warp: They could have been, perhaps were, written one year ago, maybe two. There's always a "turning point" to count on, from the transfer of power to this-time-we-mean-it-we-are-really-forming-a-unity-government.
Reviving a Vietnam-era phrase, it is the nation's editorial voice that is the "pitiful, helpless giant," even as the American and Iraqi public, alike, call for the start of a withdrawal.
On the other hand, the same newspapers -- and many others -- produced for the third anniversary on Sunday tough-minded and vital war coverage likely to make any thinking reader cry out in the direction of Washington, "Enough!" But that's nothing new. Reporters for most papers long ago revealed that the U.S. presence is Iraq is doing some good, but more harm. Then the editorial side proclaims: Let's stick around for more.
As with their news coverage, the editorials are often harshly critical of the war and the administration. They inevitably say the right things. Yet, after all that, they claim despite no real evidence, that things will only get worse if we start even a very slow pullout or, gosh -- after three years with no end in sight -- set some kind of timetable for same.
The New York Times, for example, cogently lays out everything that has gone criminally wrong, with little hope for improvement, but concludes with this ringing call for … what? "The Iraq debacle ought to serve as a humbling lesson for future generations of American leaders -- although, if our leaders were capable of being humbled, they could have simply looked back to Vietnam," the Times declares. "For the present, our goal must be to minimize the damage, through the urgent diplomacy of the current ambassador and forceful reminders that American forces are not prepared to remain for one day in a country whose leaders prefer civil war to peaceful compromise."
Urgent diplomacy and forceful reminders: In other words, leave it to the incompetent gangs in Washington and Baghdad that the editorial has just eviscerated.
Here is what the Times wrote on the first anniversary of the war in 2004: "Right now, our highest priority is making the best of a very disturbing situation." The "possibility" of "an Iraq flung into chaos and civil war, open to manipulation by every unscrupulous political figure and terrorist group in the Middle East, is too awful to contemplate." Two years later, we've got it.
The Washington Post, for its part, did not run an editorial on the war on Sunday. It did offer an Op Ed by Donald Rumsfeld. "Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," he wrote.
What about The Los Angeles Times? No help there. It boasted that it "will resist the temptation to be fashionable and will take this opportunity to at least concede that the Bush administration's actions were rooted in a strain of American idealism most often identified with Woodrow Wilson." And: "Much of the mocking by Bush critics about the supposed absurdity of the administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction is revisionist nonsense."
Think about all that for a minute. Then ponder that while the L.A. Times calls Iraq a "quagmire," says U.S. leaders are completely out of ideas, it concludes with this unconscionable call to inaction: "As it enters its fourth year, the war in Iraq defies simplistic characterizations from both ends of the political spectrum. The heroism of U.S. forces and of ordinary Iraqis going about their daily lives is inspiring. But the future of Iraq remains shrouded in gray uncertainty." And that's it.
Even the folks at Knight Ridder, the chain which produced some of the toughest pre-war and war coverage, prove toothless in an editorial published in many of its papers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, today. Like others during the past two years, it puts off any phased pullout until another "turning point" to come: "We helped make this mess; we have a moral obligation to try to leave Iraq in one piece. It is not an endless obligation, though. By the summer, it should be apparent whether Iraqi leaders can form a unity government that shuns violence."
And what of Knight Ridder's likely new owner, McClatchy? That chain's California papers offered their own pointless assessment: "Bush has painted himself and this country into a dangerous corner from which no exit is in sight, save more years of bloodshed and misery in Iraq on the one hand or, on the other, a hasty U.S. departure that would dishonor America and leave Iraqis to cope with the tragedy visited upon them. It's been a long three years. How many more await?"
Plenty more, if newspaper editorial pages (with a few brave exceptions) have anything to say about it.
Where were the editorial writers' opinions on whether it was all worth it? On whether the US could continue to finance the Bush adventure? On whether America ought to be involved in nation-building? On the variety of proposals made for new diplomatic initiatives? On the many plans that have been put forward for withdrawal?
Absent. AWOL. Silent.
And the reason, it seems to me, is not fear of being called "unpatriotic." The reason is that most editorial writers don't have a clue about how to go forward.
In which case, probably to their shock and awe, they have a lot in common with our president.
But not with their readers.BEYOND IRAQ
The Disinformation Age:
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --- William Casey, Director CIA (Quote from internal staff meeting notes 1981)I discovered a book that documents in clear, cold language how the governing elite purposely set in motion a methodical plan to deflect the vast majority of Americans into a mass of wage slaves by eliminating from the educational system the very technique that made it the best system in the world to that time: teaching students how to think independently. In The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Charlotte Iserbyt, a former policy advisor in Reagan’s Department of Education, exposes how, beginning in the thirties, the US government began to slowly and systematically subvert the existing, locally controlled, school system.
In effect, the plan was to convert the educational process from a classical system based on the Greek model, in which the mastery of language, mathematics, the sciences, history, and so forth is instilled, to one that is essentially a Pavlovian affair; a carrot-and-stick approach to imparting information where the student is rewarded for correct regurgitation and punished for not internalizing the programming. The purpose for this was to ensure that corporations would have a large mass of obedient workers who would only ask when, and not why. This is clearly proven by the fact that the large foundations funded by the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller trusts endowed the rise and spread of the movement, and the spirit of their underlying motives can best be explained by Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, who wrote in his book, Propaganda:
Those who manipulate the organized habits and opinions of the masses constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country. It remains a fact in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by this relatively small number of persons. As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.There’s the key word -- regimented. As we look around our nation today, it is more than clear that the plan was effective. We speak of our ‘busy’ lives in the ‘rat race’ and how we do things ‘on the run’ and are urged to ‘multitask’ and how it now takes more hours each by two workers to enjoy the same standard of living that a single breadwinner could manage less than a generation ago. While our bodies line up at the trough of fast food, we consume a regimen of cultural programming by a constant diet of ‘news and entertainment’ courtesy television and the movies. When we do read, trashy gossip magazines or empty novels fit the bill.
So is it any wonder that the complex and demanding job of being a responsible citizen of a republican system of self-government has been abdicated causing our devolution into a command-and-control system that is indistinguishable from the communistic and fascistic systems we supposedly ‘defeated’ in the last century?
Now we can understand the real meaning of the quote that opened this essay, and just what kind of information the ‘information age’ is all about. Our masters decided without consulting us that the ‘American Way of Life’ was unsustainable, and so would be replaced by the ‘Amerikan Dream’ which on the surface is a happy family of four with two cars in the driveway and a television set in every room. The reality is, far too often, an atomized family group that grows less healthy and educated day by day, and more manipulated and deceived by its government to the point that 80% of the people are being led by the nose by a handful of elites. There’s a diminishing group of us watching all this in horror only because we were lucky enough to get through the public school system before it became so regimented in the sixties, but even then it was clear where the train was heading. What’s even more depressing is that the vaunted university I attended wasn’t really any better.
I trust the message is clear to those with children or plan to have them -- that is, if you aren’t among those for whom the CIA’s disinformation program is quite complete.